Grambling State women’s hoops adds TJ Royals to coaching staff

Courtesy of Grambling State Athletic Communications

Grambling State University women’s basketball head coach Courtney Simmons has announced the addition of TJ Royals to her staff as an assistant coach.

“Geno Auriemma once said ‘I don’t hire good coaches, I hire good people.’ And I’m fortunate to have Coach TJ Royals and his family join us,” said Simmons. “He brings a wealth of knowledge, love, and passion for the game. He has won championships in the SWAC and I am excited about the opportunity to grow with him.”

Royals comes to GSU after having served as an assistant coach at University of Maryland-Baltimore County. 

In his first year at UMBC, Royals helped coach a defense that finished the season third in the America East in field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent from the floor and just 29.8 percent from three-point range, a mark that ranked second in the conference and 95th in the nation.

Along with helping to coach the defense, Royal also worked with the guards where he helped senior Te’yJah Oliver to a spot on the America East All-Conference First Team. Royals, along with assistant coach LaDe’yah Forte’ saw Oliver finish the season ranked in the top five in the conference in scoring, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and field goal percentage. 

In addition to Oliver, sophomore Paula Rubio finished the season ranked seventh in assists per game (3.2) and freshman Lyric Swann was seventh among American East freshmen in scoring with 8.4 points per game.  

Prior to joining the UMBC Retrievers staff, Royals spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Southern University where he helped coach the Tigers to their first NCAA appearance in program history in 2017. Royals also helped TSU to three Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Regular Season Championships in five seasons. 

Royals also helped coach Joyce Kennerson, the 2018 SWAC Player of the Year and just the third TSU player to break the 1,500-point mark in her career.

Under Royals’ direction, the Tigers led the SWAC in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, and three-point field goal percentage defense for three-straight seasons from 2015-18.  

Prior to joining moving to assistant coach at TSU, Royals worked as a video coordinator, helping to breakdown film and developing scouting reports for game prep.

 Coach Royals operated the Royals Experience Training LLC. during his time in Houston, where he helped to develop professional, college, and high school players in and out of season. Royals is noted for working with former NBA forward DJ White, Overseas player Earl Calloway and former WNBA player Rachel Hollivay.

 Before moving to Houston, Coach Royals spent a season as the assistant coach at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. Where they won the 2012-2013 FCCAA/NJCAA Region VIII Panhandle Championship and went on to finish 4th in the nation at the NJCAA National Tournament. Also, he worked four years at Tallahassee State College, where he assisted in the recruitment and training of multiple All-Panhandle Conference student-athletes.

While in Tallahassee, Coach Royals also worked with the Essence Girls Basketball AAU Program, where they won the 2007 Nike National Championship, as well as Basketball on the Bayou Tournament and The Big Flava Championships. While with the Essence Program Royals worked with and trained over 10+ All Americans, 20+ overseas professional players, four WNBA players and countless four-year university prospective student-athletes. 

From 2005- 2012, Coach Royals was the tournament manager and scout for Roundball Journal Scouting Service under Kelvin Powell. During his time with the scouting service, he helped organized AAU basketball tournaments and Basketball Skill Academies throughout Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and the DMV area; also, helping to identify such players as A’ja Wilson, Erica Wheeler, and Gloria Johnson to name a few.

Royals received his Bachelor of Arts from Texas Southern. He and his wife, Jona, have one son, T.J.

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